With a $1.2 million grant in hand, the completion of the 22-mile-long Lawrence Hopewell Trail – an off-road bicycle and pedestrian path connecting the two townships – is inching closer to reality.
Lawrence Township was awarded the grant by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, paving the way for the construction of a portion of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail through the township-owned Maidenhead Meadows Park, off Princeton Pike.
Lawrence Township plans to match the grant with its own funding of $303,600. The township’s match will come from its open space fund.
Eleanor Horne and Becky Taylor, the co-presidents of the non-profit Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corp., attended the Lawrence Township Council’s Dec. 18 meeting to thank the township for its support.
“This funding is awarded for projects that reflect the interests of the communities,” Horne said. The project was chosen for funding because of the positive impact it would have on the community, the natural environment and the health and welfare of township residents, she said.
Horne said that 19.5 miles of the 22-mile-long trail have been built to date. The Maidenhead Meadows Park trail segment, which will be a combination of paved trail and raised boardwalk over wetlands, will be one of the most unique and beautiful segments of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, she added.
Horne thanked Mayor Bobbitt for taking part in one of the community trail rides; Councilman Jim Kownacki for attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies to open segments of the trail; and to Councilwoman Cathleen Lewis, who also supported the trail.
Horne thanked Councilman David Maffei for pledging that one of his goals, when he served in the ceremonial post of mayor, was to see the trail completed before his two-year term expired. While it did not happen, she was pleased that he had made it one of his goals, she added.
And to Councilman Michael Powers, Horne said she and Taylor appreciated his support for the trail, which he made clear immediately after he was elected to Lawrence Township Council in 2003.
“I am grateful to live in a town that has made this achievement possible. Many others talk about private-public partnerships, but we live it,” Horne told Lawrence Township Council.
Meanwhile, the plan calls for creating a 10-foot-wide trail through Maidenhead Meadows Park, off Princeton Pike. Construction is expected to start in mid-2020, and to be completed by the end of the year.
The 3,300-foot-long section of the trail will be a combination of porous pavement, boardwalk and pedestrian bridges over environmentally sensitive wetlands in the park, according to the application to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
It will join the existing trail segments linking the Educational Testing Service campus with the pair of Bristol Myers-Squibb Co. corporate campuses, the Princeton Pike Corporate Center office park, and The Lawrenceville School. It will serve as a bicycle commuter link between the businesses and surrounding residential areas.
The Maidenhead Meadows Park trail connection will allow residents in the northern section of the township to get to the Mercer Mall shopping area – which includes a grocery store and other businesses – without using the congested road network in the Province Line Road, Princeton Pike, Route 206 and Route 1 area, according to the application.